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September , 2017
Sunday

  Ex-cabinet member recalls his historic votes     By Chinta Strausberg   The funeral for retired U.S. Congressman Gus Savage, ...
Chicagoans will show their support for wikileaks whistle-blower Pvt. Bradley Manning at 5:30 PM tonight ...
  Music plays a significant role in nearly everyone’s life, but for some people it represents ...
Funding for Cleanup of Chicago, Downstate Kerr-McGee Chemical Sites    Chicago, IL ─ Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced ...
The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced the selection of six new ...
BUSI to Present Leadership Conference at Tennessee State University  Nashville, TN (BlackNews.com) -- Black ...
New America Media By Elena Shore A federal judge this week blocked Obama’s executive ...
Collaboration among employers, educators and policymakers needed to lead students from education to careers   SPRINGFIELD, IL - ...
Event to honor Josephine Wade and Mozell Barnes By Chinta Strausberg Maggie Brown, the daughter ...
Chicago’s longest-running bike ride visits the city’s earliest parks, original boulevards, lakefront trail ...

Archive for the ‘Religion/Commentary’ Category

Two Political Candidates on Different Missions Vying for Humans

Posted by Admin On September - 19 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Rev. Dr. Harold E. Bailey

President, Probation Challenge and PCC Network

 

This United States election has become an historical disaster, where admirable people with good principles bearing truths are all but rejected!

As taxpayers’ dispute the honesty of presidential candidates vying for the White House, each campaigning day bring about more challenges! With the ‘spirit of confusion’ coupled with lies, truth seems to be holding on by a mere thread.

With one political party opposed to the other, people ought to have the courage to stop and ponder the voice of sanity vs. insanity! Why?  Because, lives of humans are at stake! Deceit is rampant, as the creatureless than a ‘human-spirit’ toy with a ‘detrimental scam’ on God’s humans. This is a serious indictment on the actuality of the scriptures and a dangerous game to play… especially with human-lives! This is not a reality presentation

This United States election has become an historical disaster, where admirable people with good principles bearing truths are all but rejected!

As each candidate splatters mud on the other … the question should come to mind as to who the true and honest candidate is? He or She who is without sin and able to cast the first stone – standup and don’t craw as a serpent (Satan) distinct for the pit of hell.

It’s rather difficult to distinguish who’s the liar, especially when each candidate (including the deceiver) has a camera-ready face covered with deep-seated sincerity! How can the public tell who the best candidate of choice is — or, perhaps the best character-actor suitable to be cast before the public in a live day-to-day reality drama? Who will be able to discern between the good from the evil? Should the CEO  of this country be the one who will govern these Not-So-United-States with a look of compassion or merely a regular John or Mary Doe?

Some do not have a clue as to who the spiritual Deceive is!  Not knowing is why God gave us the word! Lucifer, Satan, and the Devil … aka ‘The Deceiver’ is one and the same!’  The Deceiver will fool the very elect – if possible!

“You can identify them (the evil spirits) by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16.  Nor, will an apple tree will not bear oranges!

Each presidential candidate has a ‘DNA GENETIC MATERIAL’ and a spiritual father to obey! One spirit- father is the devil while the other is of God the Father! Can you not tell by the spiritual content of the  candidate who is without repentances and continually tells ‘untruths’. That spirit is a liar and cannot tell the truth! That spirit is without repentance? Be aware of the father of all lies which is anti-God.

The spirit of Satan cannot nor will not stay in-line with positive measures – because to do so would  represent life!  Know that the evil spirit has text or conversation that is always negative or of a demeaning characteristic.  Satan, we must remember comes only but to rob, steal, kill, and that spirit will destroy – if allowed! But, the spirit of Christ came that we would have life and that we would have it more abundantly! It is not the will of God that any of his children perish … but, people can perish and whither on the vine for the lack of God’s knowledge!

The scripture which is the word of God says: Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”  Matthew 13

Christ warned us that the wolves come to devour the flock and in this dispensation we are in the midst of a spiritual warfare that is not flesh and blood… This is a spiritual battle….and the battle is not yours it is the Lord’s. Now, without question … in that this is the Lord’s battle, we without know who is without any doubt going to win … The Lord!

We must be wise in obedience to the word of God that speaks: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”  Hebrews 13:17.

Be prayerful as you journey to the polls as to who will keep the watch over your life! Vote astutely!  He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:13

Contact Dr. Rev. Harold E. Bailey @  WWW.mrheb@aol.com – Telephone 773.978.3706

 

 

Archbishop Cupich to Celebrate Red Mass; Sponsored by Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago

Posted by Admin On September - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago invites lawyers, judges and all those who work in the legal system to attend the 82nd annual Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, traditionally known as “The Red Mass,” at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St., Chicago. Archbishop Blase J. Cupich will serve as the Principal Celebrant and Homilist.

A reception following Red Mass at Loyola University, 111 East Pearson, 16th Floor, Chicago, Illinois. Cost is $75; students and clergy are free.

The reception honors Judge Virginia M. Kendall, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, recipient of 2016 Catholic Lawyer of the Year, and James J. Convery, Partner, Laner Muchin, the recipient of the Catholic Lawyers Guild Special Service Award.

For more information and to register: http://www.chicagoredmass.org

Colin Kaepernick Makes Me Wanna Holler and Throw Up Both My Hands

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw
Contributing Writer
Colin Kaepernick

Nationwide — I am not going to equivocate my thoughts about these United States of America. Amerykah – as the artist Erykah Badu has called it, is hands down the greatest country in the world. Like most citizens, I love America and so does Colin Kaepernick, the once beloved and now embattled quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

In case youve been living under a rock for the past few days, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand while the national anthem was being played during a recent pre-season game. His refusal to stand was his expression of the frustration he felt as a Black man, a citizen living in America, observing the lack of racial equality for people of color. Kaepernick made it perfectly clear that his act was his decision and it was personal. We got to witness an act of protest protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. You know the document that begins with We the People…

And then it happened… we the people (Twittersphere, sports fans, a whole lot of folks) lost their figurative minds and let him know (as was their right), how they felt about his act. Some said he was a coward, that it wasnt the right time or place for a protest although protest, no matter the form is never convenient. It was astounding to me that some said he showed disrespect to the men and women who served in the military and more than a few of our loving citizens strongly suggested that he find another country to live in. It was as if this millionaire athlete could not and should not have a conscience and that he absolutely could not exercise his right to object to the playing of a song that has a known racist history.

Not all Americans agreed. Some applauded his right to protest and wondered if Americans would really hear his heart. Some said it was madness but magnificently so.

I immediately thought of the late Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all times was once called a traitor and draft dodger for refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army. He was immediately stripped of his heavyweight title and not allowed to box in the US for many years. Ali lost millions but it seemed that his soul remained intact. He showed us by his personal act, that our worth is not determined by green backs and coins but by the tenets of our hearts and those valuable truths that we would willingly sacrifice our lives for.

It was Ali who told the world that he would not put on a military uniform and journey thousands of miles away to drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while Black people were being treated like dogs right here in the streets of America.

Ali unapologetically said that the real enemy was not Vietnam but the good ole USA. It was Ali who said he would willingly go to war if he thought it would bring freedom and equality to Black people. For Ali, the real test was whether he would stand up for his beliefs while facing the possibility of jail. In the end, Ali reflected that he really had nothing to lose if he went to jail because we (Black people) had been in jail for 400 years.

Like Ali, Kapernick did not mince his words when explaining why he refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick said he could not stand up and show pride for a country or a flag that oppresses Black people and people of color. He said the oppression that he witnessed was bigger than football. He spoke of the bodies lying in the streets. Kaepernick knew he might pay a heavy price for his beliefs but he set down anyway. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right, Kaepernick said. Sound familiar?

Kaepernick, a Black NFL quarterback who was once chastised by a reporter for wearing his cap backwards. Turn your cap around and act like a professional quarterback, the reporter wrote. I guess that reporter was blissfully unaware that White NFL quarterbacks also wore their caps backwards. Or what about the reporter who loathed the tattoos on his arms, comparing Kaepernicks look to that of a prisoner who just got paroled. It didnt seem to matter to that reporter, that under Kaepernicks leadership, the 49ers earned a trip to Super Bowl XLVII. But I digress…

Is it possible that Kaepernick was asking how could the United States of America, home of the brave and land of the free, the great variegated country who promised that all men were created equal impinge upon the unalienable rights of its citizens of color… the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? He wanted to know when would justice for its citizens of color be congruent with the type of justice experienced by its White citizens. He did not disparage the brave men and women who serve or have served in the military nor the police who bravely seek to make the streets safe for all citizens of this great nation. He did question the system that allows some to escape the consequences of their misguided actions. After all, arent all citizens innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?

Colin Kaepernick simply spoke of his disappointment in a country that is better than what we at times exhibit. He said what you and I know that we can and must do better. It is a courageous act to speak truth to power. Its not for the faint at heart and Colin Kaepernick makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands…

Dr. Valerie Wardlaw is a writer and psychologist from Los Angeles. Contact her at vwardlaw@gmail.com or visit her web site at www.drvaleriewardlaw.com

Photo Caption: Colin Kaepernick, #7 of the San Francisco 49ers

 

 

Op-ed: Set Corey Jacobs Free From Prison

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
He deserves a grant of clemency from President Obama
By Brittany K. Barnett-Byrd, Esq.

As the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother, I know from personal experience that when one person goes to prison, the whole family goes to prison.  Mass incarceration has devastated families and communities across America. There is a real problem here and a need to help those affected.

 

The United States makes up nearly 5% of the world’s population and almost 25% of the world’s prison population. Today, there are 2.3 million people incarcerated and over 70 million have criminal records in this country.  This state of mass incarceration comes with a price tag of nearly $80 billion annually.

 

While the numbers are astonishing, to truly understand the issue, we must look beyond the numbers and see heartbeats.

 

  1. This number was assigned to my client Corey Jacobs 16 years ago when he began serving time in federal prison for nonviolent drug convictions. Corey had no prior felony convictions. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website, Corey’s release date is not a series of numbers.  It is letters.  Four of them.  LIFE.  With no parole in the federal system, Corey has been fundamentally condemned to die in prison.

 

Corey’s case was recently highlighted by former Attorney General Eric Holder in an opinion piece featured in the New York Times about the need for criminal justice reform. [https://www.facebook.com/GlobalSocialMediaNewsService/posts/1865903743637633] Over two decades ago, Corey, now 46, made a bad decision to become a drug dealer with a small group of college friends in Virginia.

 

Corey was convicted based primarily on the testimony of co-conspirators who testified in exchange for reduced sentences.  Due to federal laws, Corey was held accountable for all “reasonably foreseeable” quantities of drugs attributed to the several people involved in the conspiracy.  Corey was by no stretch of the imagination a drug kingpin and absolutely no dimension of his conduct was violent.

 

Despite facing the grim reality of dying in prison, Corey has worked diligently to prove that he is deserving of a second chance at life.  Corey has devoted himself to extensive rehabilitative programming, completed three self-improvement residential programs, and received over 100 learning certificates that have enhanced his education and personal development.  Extraordinarily, Corey earned over half of these certificates in the past five years.

 

Corey is the only defendant left on his case still behind bars after a co-defendant, who was also serving life without parole, received an unquestionably deserving grant of clemency from President Obama not long ago.

 

Notably, Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr., who sentenced Corey to life in prison under mandatory sentencing laws, believes that Corey deserves clemency like his co-defendant.  In a letter supporting Corey’s pending clemency petition, Judge Morgan confirmed that he is “certain” that he “would not have imposed a life sentence on [Corey] had the laws at the time not virtually mandated it.”

 

There is no doubt that a prison sentence was warranted in Corey’s case.  But he doesn’t deserve to come out of prison in a body bag.

 

Life in prison without the possibility of parole is, short of execution, the harshest punishment available in America. It screams that a person is beyond hope, beyond redemption. It suffocates mass potential as it buries people alive. And, in Corey’s case, it is grotesquely out of proportion to the conduct it seeks to punish.

 

Recently, I went to visit Corey in prison to discuss his pending clemency petition.  I sat in the bleak, cold concrete interior of the attorney-client visiting room unsure of what to expect.  I was quite impressed with his remorse, acceptance of responsibility, intelligence, and dedication to bettering himself. His optimism epitomizes the resiliency of the human spirit.

 

I learned Corey is an avid meditator. He mentioned in passing how he once read nature could enhance the meditation experience but he had not seen a tree in years.  The prison yard outside is surrounded by daunting, grey brick buildings.  The rest of the conversation was a blur because I could not move past the fact that he had not seen a tree. A tree…

 

I left the prison in awe of Corey’s positive energy despite his situation. But what alternative is there to hope, when your reality is unbearable?  If you lose hope, you have lost it all.

 

Unfortunately, Corey is not alone.  The United States locks up too many people for far too long. Thousands of men and women continue to labor in prison under the dark cloud of a sentence that would be substantially lower if handed down under current laws.  No question, drugs harm society.  But allowing nonviolent drug offenders to die in prison is not only morally wrong and inhumane – it is absolutely offensive to the values of this country.

 

Our criminal justice system is in dire need of reform. It is tangled in overcrowded prison cells, draconian sentences, shameful sentencing disparities, burdensome incarceration costs, and heartbroken children and families.

 

For many nonviolent drug offenders their only hope for freedom is for Congress to change the laws or clemency from President Obama.

 

A rainbow of mercy crossed Capitol Hill last year yielding unprecedented bipartisan agreement in Congress that our criminal justice system is in need of serious reform. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123) [https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/announcing-new-clemency-initiative-deputy-attorney-general-james-m-cole-details-broad-new] is a crucial bill pending in the Senate that would pull back mass incarceration and save tax payers billions of dollars.  We must urge Congress to pass this over-due, life changing legislation.

 

President Obama has is committed to reinvigorating the clemency process through his administration’s groundbreaking initiative [https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemency-initiative] to prioritize clemency applications for individuals like Corey.

 

Just this month, President Obama granted clemency to 214 people. The White House reports that this act of mercy brings the President’s clemency total to more than the last nine presidents combined. [https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/08/03/president-obama-commutes-sentences-214-additional-people] I am in hopes that the President will continue to show dedication to this critical initiative and regularly grant clemency to large groups of deserving people through the end of his term.

 

For years while working as a corporate attorney, I devoted hours to pro bono representation for clients in prison under outdated sentencing regimes and have handled several successful clemency petitions. This time last year, my client Sharanda Jones [http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/07/15/from-a-first-arrest-to-a-life-sentence/], was serving her 17th year of a life without parole sentence as a first-time nonviolent drug offender. Clemency from President Obama on December 18, 2015 literally saved her life.

 

There is no rational argument for why nonviolent drug offenders should die in prison. It is an utter waste of human life and a true indictment of our ailing criminal justice system. The time is now for the people who hold the levers of power to believe in humanity and simply do the right thing.

 

I never imagined that visiting a United States Penitentiary would change the trajectory of my life and legal career. The state of consciousness I felt after meeting with Corey empowered me.  I no longer wanted to be just a lawyer.  I wanted to use this platform to promote the greater good. Because of thousands of cases like Corey’s, two months ago I unhesitatingly resigned from my corporate law job to be an advocate for criminal justice reform.

 

There is nothing more urgent than freedom.

_______________________

 

Brittany K. Barnett-Byrd [http://www.brittanykbyrd.com/] is the #ClemencyNOW Campaign Manager at #cut50 [http://www.cut50.org/], a national bipartisan initiative to safely and smartly cut America’s prison population in half. She is also founder of Girls Embracing Mothers [http://www.girlsembracingmothers.org/], a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls with mothers in prison.

 

Majority vs. Electoral: Is Political System Speaking for Majority of Voters?

Posted by Admin On August - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Is the political system adhering to the mindset of the vast majority of voters?

 

By Rev. Dr. Harold E. Bailey

Founder and President of Probation Challenge and the PCC Network



Once upon a time U.S. citizens were complacent that the majority population vote would count!  Well, some citizens are living in the past and the majority no longer rule!  In the event you are not aware, the majority vote doesn’t count!  Truth is there are select delegates rendering decisions for the majority.

 

What’s the difference in today’s vote opposed to the past?  Strangely, many don’t know what the difference constitutes, or why there ever was a change! Tax payers decided to leave what was considered trivial matters to politicians… and that may not have been the wisest thing to do!

 
Rev. Harold E. Bailey, president of Probation Challenge, suggested recently, that youth and elders should know the current process of our government in the selection of a United States President verses an electoral process. We must remember that African American, Hispanics are not acquainted with the process of school, or the voting process!

 
Bailey said, “The world has drastically changed and because of the lacking in the United States educational process, much has escaped the eyes and ears of the African American and Hispanics communities. It’s time to become re-educated and fast! In my dialog with youth, I’ve observed that our street minded youth are not fully aware as to our historical yesterdays opposed to this present dispensation. I’m hastening to point out that this is not a mistake for those who devised such a devise! However its past- times to reconsider the will of the masses of people and not merely a few select persons to rule as in the Slavery era”.

 
Bailey spoke of a former student who graduated from Probation Challenge and now ministering.  He said “This young man recently contact me and ask that I come out of retirement and stand in the mist of gang-bangers to teach them the spiritual principles that brought him successfully through the ranks. My response was that I after prayer and much consideration would return his call for help. If these same youth who are asking for help… knew by the stretch of their imagination that the powers-that-be were wearing them out from the political sector… they would multiply in numbers at the polls.

 
If in-fact taxpaying citizens and gang-bangers would gather in large numbers at the polls it would constituted as a large popular vote-count, but in certain states would their votes count?”  Bailey said the action was politically cunning and full of craftiness.
In a presidential election, the popular vote simply means a combined collection of all voters from all states in America. It is quite possible that a candidate wins the popular vote (gets more votes over all) and yet loses the presidential election. This is because although Americans vote directly for their chosen candidate in the presidential election every 4 years, the president is elected by the institution called the Electoral College. Do we want this in selecting a president?

 
A good example: In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney won 48% of the popular vote but only 38% of the electoral vote.


The Electoral College

There are 538 total electors in the Electoral College, who are chosen by each state of the United States and by the District of Columbia (but not by other territories like Puerto Rico). The number of electors for a state is based upon the voting membership of that state in Congress i.e. the number of representatives in the House plus the number of senators. There are a total of 435 Representatives and 100 Senators in Congress; so along with 3 electors from the District of Columbia that brings the total number of electors to 538. A presidential candidate needs 270 (just over 50%) electoral votes to win. Do we want this in selecting a president?

 

How Electoral Votes are Awarded
In all states except Nebraska and Maine, electors are awarded on a winner-take-all basis. This means all electors/delegates in a state are awarded to the winner of the popular vote in that state. So in a closely contested election like 2000 (Bush v. Gore), when George Bush won Florida with a roughly 50-50% split of the popular vote in that state, he won all 27 electoral votes for Florida. Maine and Nebraska use a slightly different method for allocating electoral votes. In the “Congressional District Method”, one elector within each congressional district is selected by popular vote in that district. The remaining two electors (representing the 2 U.S. Senate seats) are selected by the statewide popular vote. This method has been used in Nebraska since 1996 and in Maine since 1972. Do we want this in selecting a president?


Disadvantages of the Electoral College

Critics of the system that uses the electoral vote to choose a president argue that the system is unfair. They say that the system is undemocratic because the number of electoral votes is not directly proportional to the population of the state. This gives smaller states a disproportionate influence in presidential elections. For example, Hawaii has a population of only 1.36 million but has 4 electoral votes while Oregon has a population 3 times that size (3.8 million) but only 7 electoral votes. If the power of a single vote were calculated in terms of number of number of people per electoral vote, states like New York (519,000 people per electoral vote) and California (508,000 people per electoral vote) would lose. The winners would be states like Wyoming (143,000 people per electoral vote) and North Dakota (174,000 people per electoral vote).

 
Another criticism is that the electoral vote system does not penalize a state for low voter turnout or for disenfranchising its citizens (such as convicted felons, or, historically, slaves and women) The state gets the same number of votes regardless of whether voter turnout is 40% or 60%. In a popular vote, states with higher turnout will directly increase their influence in the outcome of the presidential race.

 
Yet another criticism is that it discourages voters in states where one party holds a substantial majority i.e. Republicans in typically blue states like California or Democrats in red states like Texas. Since electoral votes are awarded on a winner-take-all basis, even a significant minority of contrarian votes will not make any impact on the outcome of the election. On the other hand, if a popular vote were to be used then every single vote has an impact.

 


Advantages of the Electoral Vote over a Popular Vote

Supporters of using the electoral vote argue that it protects the rights of smaller states and is a cornerstone of American federalism. States can design their own mechanism — without federal involvement — for choosing their electors.

 
Another advantage is that the impact of any state-level problems, such as fraud, is localized. No political party can commit large-scale fraud in any one state to dramatically influence an election.

 
It should be noted that the Electoral College merely follows from state influence in Congress, which enacts laws and acts as an inherent checks-and-balances mechanism for the president’s administration. That is to say representation for various states in Congress is also not directly proportional to their population.

 
Different Winners of Electoral and Popular Vote
The biggest criticism of the electoral vote system is that it is possible for a presidential candidate to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote. That is, more Americans voted for the candidate but he or she still lost. While this is rare, it has happened 4 times:

 
• George Bush (electoral vote winner) vs. Al Gore in 2000: Al Gore won the popular vote by 543,816 votes
• Benjamin Harrison (electoral vote winner) vs. Grover Cleveland in 1888
• Rutherford B. Hayes (winner) vs. Samuel J. Tilden in 1876: Tiden won the popular vote by 264,292 votes
• John Quincy Adams won the electoral vote in 1824 but lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson by 44,804 votes in 1824

 
Popular Support for the Electoral College
A Gallup poll in January 2013 found that a vast majority of Americans would prefer to do away with the Electoral College for presidential elections.
Now, I ask the voting public… after reading all the confusing data and watching the confusion on television with various presidential candidates … who are you most likely to vote for?

 
And, if your candidate has the large majority of votes… who really wins?

 

For more information, contact: Rev. Harold E. Bailey, Founder and President of Probation Challenge and the PCC Network
WWW.mrheb@aol.com – 773.978.3706.

 


As Heart Disease Plagues the Black Community, America’s Access to Medicines May Be Headed for Crisis

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
 

Op-Ed By Rev. Derek McCoy

 

Heart disease is the longstanding No. 1 killer of Americans, and the leading cause of death among Marylanders. While this silent killer devastates populations of all racial and ethnic groups, African-Americans are at the highest risk – deaths from heart disease among African Americans are 30 percent higher when compared to the White population.

 

Many African-Americans are all too familiar with family members who have struggled with this disease and have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects from physical to psychological to financial. With new breakthroughs in life-saving medicines, why does this death toll remain so high? Access continues to be a defining problem for doctors and their patients.

Even as specialty drugs have become available to treat conditions like high cholesterol, insurance companies and others are working to keep their own costs down by limiting patients’ coverage for them. An April story from the Association Press tells the story of Christian Jacobs, a 24-year-old with a rare form of inheritable high cholesterol.

 

He takes eight medications, including blood thinners for seven stents that keep his arteries open. When Christian found out that UnitedHealth, his insurer, wouldn’t cover a breakthrough drug, Repatha, which is designed for patients like Christian, he was shocked.

 

“‘I was floored,'” he said. “‘How in the world can we be rejected for a medication that I meet every single standard for?'” Instead, his insurer said he should maintain his current drug regimen.

Christian’s condition may be unique, but his story is not. Aggressive anti-patient maneuvers have become all-too-common in the health care industry in America today. Even as uninsured rates plummet, especially among minority populations, out-of-pocket costs are growing at rapid rates.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible for people with employer-provided health coverage rose from $303 to $1,077 between 2006 and 2015.

That’s a staggering 255 percent increase. Insurance companies and pharmacy benefits managers are some of the most vocal opponents of high prescription drug prices, but patients are the ones really footing the bills. People from lower income communities, as well as retirees, are especially susceptible and are being hit hard with increased cost for quality care and drugs.

The entry of “independent” non-profits into the national debate over health care costs should be of concern to patient advocates as well. The Boston-based Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) has been called the “de facto arbiter for the nation’s medicine chest.”

ICER evaluates prescription drugs that have been recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration and makes a determination if they’re too expensive. As part of these drug reviews, it has called for discounts up to 94 percent of the list price of the drug. Insurers and PBMs, in turn, cite ICER reports while pushing for lower prices from pharmaceutical companies, or to justify extensive bureaucratic requirements like prior-authorizations that effectively restrict patients’ access to medications.

ICER’s heavy dependence on the insurance and PBM industry for financial support calls its independence into question, and should give pause to those in the health care industry who’re looking for expert opinions. With the rise in anti-patient policies already underway, the payers don’t need further justification to put the squeeze on patients from media stories that don’t reveal ICER’s bias for the payers’ bottom line.

 

As noted by Dr. Sean Francis, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at the University of Louisville, “Every day, it seems, insurers and other middlemen put new restrictions on what drugs can be given to our patients, and how they can be prescribed.”

 

The effects of these policies on patients and vulnerable populations are already problematic. If they continue to worsen, they may turn America’s access to medicines issue into a full blown crisis.

Reverend Derek McCoy is the national director for the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) and an associate pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD.

 

 

 

Chicago Lawyers and the Code of Silence

Posted by Admin On June - 29 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

View From The Ground <info@invisibleinstitute.com>

Vol. 2, Issue 4: Record Resistance
A REPRINT

At Issue: City lawyers and the code of silence

The city routinely resists turning over police complaint records and other evidence in civil rights lawsuits, according to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune.

The report raises the possibility of conflicts between defending individual officers and serving the public good and taxpayers’ interests – and whether the city’s law department is upholding a police code of silence by fighting to keep public information secret.

Resistance to turning over documents is stronger in cases involving charges of wrongful convictions and serious excessive force, according to the report. The city routinely resists releasing officers’ complaint records, a practice which corporation counsel Steven Patton defended.

The city has “resisted turning over the most basic documents,” sometimes resulting in years-long legal skirmishes. In a number of cases the city has faced judicial sanctions, sometimes costly. In the case of the 2011 shooting death of Darius Pinex, a judge overturned a jury verdict in the city’s favor after he found a city lawyer “intentionally concealed” relevant documents; the city then settled with Pinex’s family for over $2 million.

Meanwhile the Chicago Reporter has published a database of 655 police misconduct lawsuits filed between 2012 an 2015, along with an investigation finding the police department fails to analyze lawsuits – as department in other cities do – to identify issues that need to be addressed or officers who need correction.

Looking at the small number of cases where the city admitted to police misconduct, the Reporter found that of 151 officers who admitted wrongdoing, only nine were investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority – and of them, only one was found responsible for misconduct.

Diversity. White male officers are disproportionately favored in promotions within the Chicago Police Department – and “the higher the position, the more likely it’s been…filled by a white man” – according to a Sun Times report.

A merit selection process based on supervisor recommendations intended to address the dearth of minorities in upper ranks has made some difference, but it’s also been used by politicians backing favorite officers and multigenerational police families backing a relative.  And sometimes supervisors with histories of abuse have promoted officers with similar histories.

The Sun Times highlights the recent promotion of a former Special Operations Section officer to detective after he and other SOS cops were ordered to pay $96,000 in punitive damages for a false arrest; he was recommended by Chief of Detectives Dean Andrews, who resigned last December to avoid being fired in the cover-up of a killing by former Mayor Daley’s nephew.

Another officer who fatally shot quadriplegic in a 2003 traffic stop – subject of a court settlement in which the city paid $5.2 million – was promoted to detective in 2013 at the recommendation of then-Commander Glenn Evans, himself subject of numerous excessive force complaints and several legal settlements.

Meanwhile, the proportion of blacks on the force has “steadily declined” over the past decade, according to the Sun Times.

The Washington Post recently surveyed national data and found that in cities with more representative police forces, fewer black civilians are killed by police.

In its April report, the mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force found that the department has made some progress since the early 1970s, when 83 percent of officers were white and a federal judge found the department “knowingly discriminated” in hiring and promotion.  But CPD “still has a ways to go to reflect the racial makeup of the city – and the department “has particular work to do when it comes to promotions,” the task force found.

The task force recommended that CPD “develop recruitment, selection and promotion strategies that increase diversity,” and that it follow the lead of most large companies and organizations and implement a diversity program overseen by a Deputy Chief of Diversity and Inclusion.

No bonfires. A bill requiring CPD to preserve police misconduct records passed the House Judiciary-Criminal Law Committee last month but wasn’t called for a vote in the full House.  The Better Government expects an effort to get a vote on the bill in the General Assembly’s extended session.

The records are currently covered by an arbitrator’s ruling protecting them for the duration of the investigation of CPD by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Fraternal Order of Police is appealing the ruling.

From The Archive:

The Regime of Not-Knowing: “In view of the gravity of harms to citizens, communities, and institutions that flow from police abuses, what are the impediments to instituting an effective monitoring and disciplinary system?” In this 2006 excerpt from “Kicking The Pigeon,” Invisible Institute Director Jamie Kalven explores an issue of police accountability that resonates today.
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“No Fly, No Buy,” Supported By 90% of Americans, Deserves A Vote

Posted by Admin On June - 27 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
By Marc H. Morial

President & CEO, National Urban League

In response to Congress’ incomprehensible inaction on gun safety in the wake of the nation’s worst mass shooting, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) led a sit-in on the House floor on Wednesday to demand a vote on the “no fly, no buy” bill. 

The bipartisan measure, supported by an overwhelming 90% of Americans, would ban the sale of guns to suspected terrorists on the government’s no-fly list.

“Sometimes you have to get in the way. You have to make some noise by speaking up and speaking out against injustice & inaction,” Rep. Lewis tweeted during the protest. “The time is always right to do right. Our time is now.”

In an op-ed published Friday in the New York Daily News, I was joined by John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety, and Evan Wolfson, President of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, in calling for common sense gun safety reforms.

“It is insane,” we wrote, “that we live in a country where terror suspects and criminals, including those convicted of hate crimes, can easily buy guns. Ity is intolerable that in our country armed hatred is the new normal. And it is unacceptable that our lawmakers protect and promote the gun lobby’s vision over our own lives and liberties.”

We applaud Rep. Lewis’s principled stance on the “no fly, no buy” bill. It is astonishing that such extreme measures should be necessary to urge a vote on a bill that is supported by 9 out of every 10 Americans.

National Black Church Initiative President Rev. Anthony Evans Clarifies Position and Issues Apology to the Black Church, Black Press, and Black Community Concerning HB2 Law in North Carolina

Posted by Admin On June - 27 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
 

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, wishes to clarify its position and issue an apology to members of the Black church, Black press, and Black community concerning the HB2 law in North Carolina.  Simply stated, we deeply regret and apologize for publishing a press release that was not properly vetted.  We recognize this type of ill-vetted press release gave an unwarranted impression that NBCI supported discrimination against African Americans.  This is not the case and it will never be the case.

 

NBCI received many inquiries from churches and related constituents from across the country regarding our stance on the HB2 law.  Hence, we felt compelled to clarify and issue an apology for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations regarding our position on HB2 as we immediately began to call, clarify, and apologize to church leadership across the country.NBCI only sought to make it clear that we were not in support of transgendered individuals using bathrooms contrary to their biological sex.  Because of the manner in which the press release was written, the impression was given that the Black church supported discrimination.  The HB2 law states that it opposes all groups, including gays and African Americans, who wanted to sue the state for racial and sexual discrimination.

 

We have since come to understand and abhor the fact that the HB2 law not only discriminates against the LGBT+ community,particularly transgendered individuals and their use of bathroom facilitates, but also the law can be used to discriminate against African Americans who comprise the membership of NBCI churches.  The shameful fact that the state of North Carolina used the law to manipulate a highly-sensitive, publicized issue with racialized politics by promoting the HB2 law as focused solely on transgendered individuals using bathrooms contrary to their biological sex is unacceptable and deceptive.

 

We clearly understand the following portions of HB2 in Section 3.3, Chapter 143 of the General Statutes has been amended by adding a new article, particularly found in Section 143-422.10 under Short Title, Section 143-422.11, Section 143-422.12, and Section 143-422.13. All of these sections underscore how the North Carolina legislation went far beyond the objectives and purview of the legislation of simply stopping transgendered individuals from using certain bathroom facilities.  We clearly state again that we do not support that part of the HB2 law.  We will send a letter to Governor Pat McCrory indicating ourposition about the HB2 law and the manipulative tactics used in this process. Notwithstanding, we still do assume responsibility for the role we assumed in this unfortunate outcome.

 

Please know our fundamental reason for supporting any portion of the HB2 law was on the basis of Biblical principles and protecting the integrity of the Church and its teachings regarding homosexuality. We love our gay brothers and sisters like we love everyone else who is in a sinful relational state.  We do not condone persons’ behaviors [homosexual or heterosexual] that are contrary to scriptural teachings.

 

Rev. Anthony Evans, NBCI President, “I take full responsibility for issuing a poorly vetted press release on the HB2 law. Charge the error to my head and not my heart.  I do not, however, in any way, apologize for the church’s stance against homosexual behaviors. Given the widespread impact of the erroneous impression generated by the first press release issued on May 11, 2016, I do apologize to all of our member churches, the Christian citizens of North Carolina, and the African American Christian Leadership.  I will personally send letters to civil rights organizations, especially those in North Carolina, clarifying and apologizing for publishing a poorly vetted press release.”

 

Again, we do understand that not only does HB2 discriminate against transgendered individuals; HB2 discriminates against other groups including African Americans.  This HB2 law is not perfect and we will never support the Governor Pat McCrory and the State of North Carolina in any legislative efforts thatdiscriminate openly against African Americans.  We oppose the State of North Carolina and their gerrymandering concerning voting rights for our people.  We believe that the voting rights legislation, which has been upheld, is wrong, immoral, and morally reprehensible and we will continue our concerted and tireless efforts to overturn it.  The stakes are too high.

 

Reverend Mark McCleary who serves as Chair of the NBCI Minister Alliance and Reverend Sheldon Williams who serves as Chair of the Northeast Faith Command both say, “We accept Rev. Evans’ sincere apology.  We understand the intent behind his message although his execution was flawed and left an unwarranted impression about the organizational stance.”

 

In closing, let it be clear that NBCI will never support the evil of racism against its own people.  We will never support the racist North Carolina legislation that systematically hampers our voting rights to be full citizens of this country.  We will never support legislations that manipulate one group against another.  There are those who will think that the Church is ignorant to these points and we want to demonstrate our capacity to clearly understand and articulate positions how legislators can write laws with unintended consequences. We know the brutal history of what North Carolina has done to African American people.

 

ABOUT NBCI

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, churches and the public. Our methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science.

 

NBCI’s purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work. Visit our website at www.naltblackchurch.com.

 

 

‘Divisive and Cunningness of Presidential Candidate’

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Rev. Dr. Harold E. Bailey

Founder and President, Probation Challenge

 

As the voting public is led into a political turmoil, straddling voters are for the first time in the history of these United States, haltered between two opinions – good and evil!

As followers of presidential candidates fight for clarity based upon what is spoken by the candidate, thons of people are mislead by the misrepresentations of truths leaving people splintered and torn by the Master-of-Deceptiveness!  Confusion has now surfaced in the presidential race and Satan has lifted its ugly head leaving voters forgetful as to the tools that would be used to deceive.

The written word of God gives unadulterated clarity as to who the ruler of darkness is and, in a close review of scripture … it is that wicket and contrary spirit that has now entered the presidential campaign!  The Spirit of Satan: Scriptures declare that in the latter days; the ruler of darkness who is now presently at war for the very souls of God’s creations has embodied humans and diligently seeking to destroy by calling right-wrong and wrong-right.

Even as the mature voter’s eye denotes that something is not in divine-order, some voters are not factoring in the law-of-God which is a defying error! The exclusion of God, who is to exclude the landlord of this universe! To exclude God… is an act of spiritual defiance and plays into the hands of the enemy … which is a critical and deadly mistake!

If ever blatant evils were demonstrated on this planet they are represented in this 21st Century!  Persons of noted and dubious reputations are spiting in the face of voters, misleading millions via falsehoods, while their devious hearts are far from truth as the east is from the west.

Principalities and spiritual wickedness sitting in high places… now has ownership to lawlessness and terrorism and broadly demonstrates divisions rather than comradeship! This is not an attribute of peace… thusly not of God! We know that Lucifer (Aka: Satan, Lucifer, Devil) is the Commander-in-Chief of the mass confusion in these Not-So-United States and in the entire earth ream.

With the murders and violence that has invaded the earth ream from the nation capitol to the state and city houses; one would ask who is the inflammable leader of Principalities, Powers and Spiritual wickedness sitting in High places?  The learned Apostle Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4 – that the answer… it is Satan, Lucifer, the ‘god’ of this world.

Without a trace of doubt, the renowned political enemy comes only but to rob, steals, kill and to rob us of our joy… for the joy of the Lord is our strength!

God is not the author of confusion! We have only but to observe and take note that these are the latter days where the very elect could and would be fooled if possible!

The only hope we have in these crucial matters is in Christ Jesus, for he is the hope of glory! Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is not caught-up in the clamors of the world, continues to speak with a soft still voice pleading for his people to turn from their evil and devious ways, pray and to seek his face… and the promise which is on condition; he will hear from heaven and will heal the land.

The crucial question resting with our salvation: Whose report do we choose to believe? Do we believe the word of God when it says: You shall know the evil-ones by the fruit they bare?  Take note that an apple tree cannot bear bananas!

The true baptized believers in Christ should take into consideration:  The bible declares in (2 Corinthians 10: 4-6) 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Ye Shall Know the Truth!

If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32

Photo: Rev. Harold E. Bailey

 

To contact Dr. Rev. Harold Bailey: WWW.ProbationChallenge.org or Mail: Mrheb@aol.com , or 773.978.3706.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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